The Missouri Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety discussed a bill Wednesday that would prohibit the use of chokeholds by police officers.
The measure came in response to the deaths of George Floyd and Michael Brown because of police brutality.
“I was elected in 2014, and Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson happened the Saturday after my primary on a Tuesday,” said Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, sponsor of House Bills 461 and 876.
HB 876, first introduced Jan. 26, refers to the use of chokeholds. Its summary reads, “Any peace officer or security guard who causes death using a chokehold and is not justified in using deadly force shall be guilty of a class A felony and may be referred for disciplinary action.”
In the hearing, Dogan explained that this bill is the result of several discussions with activist groups such as the NAAPC and the ACLU, as well as with sheriffs, police chiefs and members of the Fraternal Order of Police.
The proposed bill is against the use of maneuvers commonly referred to as chokeholds, which restrict blood or oxygen flow to the brain, prevent breathing or reduce the intake of air. It also adds certification requirements in de-escalation training for officers.
Furthermore, this bill would create offenses for sexual conduct in the course of public duty with a detainee, offender or prisoner.
Dogan said the bill is his response to unjustified mistreatment police show toward communities of color.
“The history we have of policing toward African Americans is not a pretty one,” he said in the hearing.
The other bill, HB 461, proposes law enforcement agencies have a written policy for investigations of officer-involved deaths. It would also require officers to provide complete reports to the prosecutor of the county or city where the death occurred, along with requiring independent researchers to investigate these cases.